The official State Motto of Kansas is the Latin phrase; Ad Astra Per Aspera (meaning “To the Stars Through Difficulty”). The state motto appears on the Kansas flag and state seal. The Great Seal of the State of Kansas, along with the motto, Ad Astra per Aspera, was adopted by a Joint Resolution of the first session of the Kansas Legislature on May 25, 1861.
The Kansas State Motto, “Ad Astra per Aspera” is a Latin Term. The Meaning of Kansas State Motto Is “to the stars through difficulties.” John James Ingalls coined the motto in 1861 stating, “The aspiration of Kansas is to reach the unattainable; its dream is the realization of the impossible.”
According to the Office of the Governor of Kansas: “This State Motto of Kansas refers not only to the pioneering spirit of the early settlers but also the difficult times Kansas went through before becoming a USA State. The anti-slavery forces and slavery proponents waged battles in the electoral process as well as on the battlefield. People Called With a Nickname “Bloody Kansas” because of the war regarding slavery, much of which was fought on Kansas’ soil.”
The history of this State Motto of Kansas can best be given in ex-Senator Ingalls’ own characteristic words:
“I was secretary of the Kansas state senate at its first session after our admission in 1861. A joint committee was appointed to present a design for the great seal of the state and I suggested a sketch embracing a single star rising from the clouds at the base of a field, with the constellation (representing the number of states then in the Union) above, accompanied by the motto, “Ad astra per aspera.” If you will examine the seal as it now exists you will see that my idea was adopted, but in addition thereto the committee incorporated a mountain scene, a river view, a herd of buffalo chased by Indians on horseback, a log cabin with a settler plowing in the foreground, together with a number of other incongruous, allegorical and metaphorical augmentations which destroyed the beauty and simplicity of my design.The clouds at the base were intended to represent the perils and troubles of our territorial history; the star emerging therefrom, the new state; the constellation, like that on the flag, the Union, to which, after a stormy struggle, it had been admitted.”
From a biographical record prepared by G. H. Meixell.